Monday Mornings with Madison

A Good Time To Do Good

There is no shortage of blessings for which we should express appreciation.  Solid health.  Supportive spouse.  Loving family.  Long-time friends.  Thriving business.  Great success.  Acclaim.  Good fortune.   It turns out that giving thanks is good not only for the people receiving that appreciation (after all, it feels good to be told “thank you”) but also for the person expressing gratitude.  In fact, gratitude seems to work like a “booster shot” for relationships.  This goes for relationships at work as well. An employee expressing gratitude for a boss’ generosity makes both the boss and employee feel better.  The same is true for a boss expressing appreciation for an employee’s hard work.  Both boss and employee feel better. Giving thanks — the actual act of expressing it — is mutually beneficial. Continue reading

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Time Matters

Every business on the planet would like to improve its use of time.  As the saying goes, time is money.  Better time management means more profits.  It is therefore understandable that businesses — which constantly strive to be ever more profitable — are obsessed with time.  Saving time.  Managing time.  Not wasting time.  It especially makes sense given that time is the one truly finite resource.  A company can hire more staff.  It can buy more equipment.  It can till or mine more raw materials or recycle old materials. However, no company can make a day longer… or recycle a minute…. or find a new source of time.  Once a moment is gone, that moment can never be regained.  Scarcity is what makes time so precious. Continue reading

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Writing a Great Resume and Cover Letter

Writers and marketers are often asked to help write, revise or review a Resume and/or Cover Letter.  Sometimes, it is for friend in search of a new job.  Sometimes, it is for a business owner who needs to raise capital or increase a line of credit.  Sometimes, it is for a colleague being considered for a seat on a company’s Board of Directors.  Resumes and Cover Letters are the most basic, fundamental tools used to speak on behalf of professionals today. After all, what is a Resume and Cover Letter but self-marketing… an individual’s own personal brochure and commercial. Continue reading

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Basic Marketing Tips for Startups

As a result of the downturn in the real estate and financial markets beginning in 2007-2008, many professionals changed careers.  From realtors to lenders and from developers to appraisers, people left the lending, construction and real estate industries in droves.  As the market contracted, many small companies went out of business.  However, in recent years as the market has rebounded, professionals are slowly returning to these industries.  Many are starting new businesses.  Also, the adult children of real estate moguls and successful entrepreneurs see this as a good time to leave the parental nest and start businesses of their own.  Moreover, changing market conditions has created opportunities for new businesses that never existed before such as crowd funding and trailer document tracking.  For these reasons, real estate, building and lending startups are springing up at every turn. Continue reading

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Self-Talk Your Way to Success

The schoolyard saying that “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never harm me” is untrue.  Words can do damage.  Criticism hurts.  Disapproving remarks and belittling comments can injure a person’s sense of self worth.  Ironically, this is often most true of the talk coming from within.  Every person has inner monologues with themselves.  Psychologists commonly refer to this as self-talk, and there are different kinds of self-talk.  Among other things, through self-talk we provide ourselves with instructions, opinions and evaluations on what we are doing as we are doing it. Continue reading

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Boost Your Brain to Extend Your Career

There is one thing that all people – from entry level employees to top leaders in every profession and occupation – have in common.  Every person is getting older.  It is generally accepted that with age comes deterioration.  By middle age, there is the appearance of gray hair, age spots and wrinkles.  On the inside, the deterioration is less visible but possibly more profound.  Inflammation causes stiff joints.  Brain cells deteriorate.  This affects memory, communication, language, ability to focus and pay attention, reasoning and judgment, and visual perception.  Over time, such mental wear-and-tear can profoundly impact workplace productivity, safety, creativity, interpersonal skills and more. Continue reading

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Agreeable, Disagreeble and the Ability to Disagree

Most character traits can be a quality or a flaw, depending on the situation or circumstances.  A coworker who is very detail-oriented might also be considered nitpicky or persnickety.  An employee who is very communicative can also be perceived as being a chatty Cathy.  A boss who is very direct might also be seen as aggressive or blunt.  What is seen as a positive trait in one situation could just as easily be viewed as a personality failing in another situation. The truth is that every characteristic – even the negative ones — probably has value at the right time, place or in moderation but might also be problematic when applied in excess or in the wrong situation. Continue reading

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The Power of Promises in Business – Part 2

The Cost of Broken Promises and Path to Keeping Them

Research by Accenture has confirmed what most smart business people have long believed to be true:  broken promises hurt business.  Day in and day out, many businesses make overt or implied promises to customers.  Often, those promises are intentionally, carelessly or inadvertently broken.  In any given year, nearly half of customers have a promise broken by a company with which they do business.  Of those, almost two thirds report companies breaking multiple promises.  Some industries are more habitual in breaking promises than others.   Continue reading

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The Power of Promises in Business – Part 1

What Happens When Companies Break Promises?

Every day, businesses make promises to its internal and external customers.  Throughout the relationship life cycle, from entry level clerks to the top brass, employees at every level of every company make promises to customers regarding work to be done, deadlines to be met, or issues to be resolved.  Some of those promises are explicit.  “I give you my word….”  “Count on it.”  “Rest assured, it will be there on time.”  Other promises are implied.  Implied promises can be just as powerful as expressed ones. Everyone recognizes a commitment has been made when a business advertises that it has “the fastest turnaround times in the industry,” or a salesperson says “I’ll send you that proposal by the close of business today.”   There are countless implied promises that a business makes in its marketing materials, sales pitch and customer service. Continue reading

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The Connection Between Happiness and Place

The U.S. Declaration of Independence boldly states in the Preamble that “All men are created equal.  And that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights.  That among these rights is life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”  The pursuit of happiness was and is still viewed today as an undeniable right and goal of all people.  Of course, one doesn’t have to be a scientist to know that there are many factors that impact individual happiness.  Relationships.  Career.  Economic well-being.  Personal freedom.  Spirituality.  Physical fitness.  Emotional health.  However, little scientific research had been done on measuring happiness… until recently.  More and more, there has been a push to understand what affects happiness in order to be able to pursue and attain it. Continue reading

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